LEGO Dimensions Review

An cross-dimensional good time!

LEGO Dimensions

The Verdict

Despite its rather unfriendly price tag, LEGO Dimensions is a damn fine example in the toys-to-life genre. It might be more comforting to know that these toys are actually toys, and can actually be played with. Take note Disney.

There is just so much to do, from the main story, to exploring each world and completing a myriad of objectives, to unlocking new upgrades for your vehicles, to collecting minikits and Gold Bricks. That's not even mentioning the awesome Easter Eggs that await in the game.

While you can certainly just buy the base game and play through the whole game no problem, and gain access to three of the 14 worlds, the team at Travelers' Tales did such a fantastic job crafting the others, that it would almost be a disservice not to shell out a few more bucks to experience the other ones. The best part? You don't have to buy every single character to experience everything in the game. A character per franchise will unlock its corresponding world, and multiple characters share some of the game's special abilities.

It's nice to know that Travelers' Tales has built on the extremely popular toys-to-life formula, and put their own spin on it, rather than simply copying their competition.

LEGO Dimensions

The Positives

  • The main story mode does a fantastic job at taking you through most of the different worlds, and get you familiar with them. It's a meaty adventure that can take you well over 10 hours to complete.

  • The best part, at least for LEGO fans, is actually building the toys that you'll be bringing into the game, from the minifigs to their respective gadgets and vehicles.

  • The earliest instance of this was the game asking me to rebuild the Dimension Portal. Putting it together, piece by piece made me feel like my 10 year-old self again. It was an absolute blast to put together. The same goes for the vehicles and gadgets. As soon as you place a new figure onto your portal, the game will prompt you to build their corresponding gadget or vehicle that can immediately be usable in-game.

  • With the exception of Skylanders SuperChargers, that introduced vehicles that actually double as toys, all of the other figures from past games in this genre are basically little statues. In LEGO Dimensions, everything from the minifigs to their vehicles can double as LEGO toys. Simply detach the blue base and voila, you have toys that you can actually play with.

  • The Dimension Portal itself is used quite heavily for gameplay reasons. Throughout the game, you'll unlock various uses for it, such as being able to teleport to different parts of the level, or coloring your character a certain color to hit switches. All of these functions correspond to one of the three areas on the portal. That means you'll frequently solve puzzles by moving your little minifigs from one part of the portal to the next. Some characters even have special abilities such as going stealth or performing a super build by being placed on certain parts of the portal.

  • There is certainly much more value attached to a $14.99 Fun pack, which comes with a minifig and a vehicle or gadget, as opposed to their similarly priced competition which is just a single character. Placing down the Wicked Witch, for example, will also unlock the Wizard of Oz World, and similarly placing down Marty McFly will unlock the Back to the Future World. The best part is that all you need is the single minifig from that respective franchise to unlock that world. That means in the base game, you can fully explore the LEGO Movie (Wyldstyle), Lord of the Rings (Gandalf) and DC Comics (Batman) world.

  • If you're going to buy a Level pack, go with Portal 2. Not only is the writing the best for that one, it's lengthier than the rest. And also, it's freaking Portal in LEGO form. I was surprised at just how well the puzzles still worked, despite it not being in first person.

  • The worlds themselves are open-world sandboxes, complete with missions, new buildings to restore, characters to meet, races to complete.  If the entire game was just made up of these worlds alone, it would be enough for me, but these are just an additional layer of gameplay on top of an already lengthy main story.

  • Some of the worlds also come with their own unique art-style. Scooby Doo and Simpsons worlds look more like cartoons, with cel-shading adding black outlines to each character and the environment. Nice touch!

  • The game is genuinely funny. One of the earlier funny instances was when the group gets sent to Oz, and Batman spots the Scarecrow walking along with Dorothy and the gang, and quickly assumes that it's the work of the villain Scarecrow, and that Oz must be some kind of hallucination, which gives the good Scarecrow an identity crisis. Hilarious!

  • The main game is lengthy, but completionists will have an absolute field day with this game. With 480 Gold Bricks to gather, tons of minikits to find, Red Bricks to unlock and vehicle transformations to upgrade, it's almost overwhelming, but in a very good way.

  • Each minifig, vehicle and gadget has some sort special ability, akin to previous LEGO games. Certain characters can smash Silver bricks, some can control minds, others can pull down objects with grappling hooks, etc. The game does an amazing job at listing all the characters that possess a certain skill, meaning if you're not a collector, you can use that list to pick out a character you like, buy him and then have that skill to complete that wholly optional sidequest.

  • Unlike Disney Infinity, you can freely mix and match franchises to your liking. Batman can explore the world of LEGO Chima, and Marty McFly can take part in GlaDOS' new portal tests. It's awesome.

LEGO Dimensions

The Negatives

  • As was the case with previous LEGO games, the gameplay is still rather simplistic. Save for the special abilities that I talked about above, the platforming and especially the combat can feel a little too simplistic and almost non-responsive.

  • Extra LEGO packs don't come with booklets. Not sure why this was decided, but if you want to build a gadget or vehicle, you'll need to actually boot the game up and use the digital instructions.

  • Driving can be slightly finicky since vehicles move in the direction the thumbstick is held down. It basically has the same controls as when you're on foot, which can make instances like hitting ramps slightly harder than it needs to be.

  • While it's cool that each vehicle has three different modes that you can unlock, not being able to swap between them on the fly is rather annoying. You can only switch by leaving the level, going back to the Dimension Portal, accessing the vehicles upgrades menu and then re-writing the toy tag.

  • Either way you slice it, the game is a big money sink if you want to experience everything, and you'll definitely want to. As of right now, the only way to access Simpsons, Portal and Back to the Future is by spending $30 each. That comes with a single character, a gadget and a vehicle. It also comes with a single level, which is slightly disappointing, and also grants access to that franchise's world. While that may sound like a great value, remember that worlds are simply unlocked by having a minifig related to that franchise. If you want until Doc Brown comes out, you'll still be able to access the world, and only at $14.99.

  • Scattered release dates for new LEGO sets are smart, as they keep people interested in the game over time, but it also means that as of right now, there is no way to access worlds like Doctor Who or Ghostbusters, and also complete some of the challenges involving ghosts, that only Peter Venkman can solve.

The LEGO games, up until now, have been taking largely popular movie franchises and turning them into family friendly platformers. Travelers' Tales have been doing a stellar job at nearly every entry, whether you want to save the world as The Avengers, relive the Star Wars Saga, or even roam through Middle-earth as Frodo. LEGO Dimensions changes things up by mashing up various popular licenses, into a trans-dimensional adventure that will have you smiling from ear to ear.

It would be entirely too easy to dismiss LEGO Dimensions as yet another 'Toys-to-Life' game, but that would be doing it a great disservice. It's still very much a LEGO game, and those coming into LEGO Dimensions being familiar with past titles will fit right in here. But there is a lot that Travelers' Tales does with the game's Base for instance, that escalate it beyond its toy game alternatives.

LEGO Dimensions follows LEGO Movie's Wyldstyle, Gandalf and Batman (not the LEGO Movie one, although he does make an appearance) as they travel through dimensions with the objective to take down Lord Vortech. It's a crazy adventure that spans worlds you'd never expect to see like Doctor Who, Portal, and even The Simpsons.

The question is, do you shell out the $100 for the base game, and possibly more on many of the game's additional LEGO sets? Read on to find out.